04 Jul 2022

Envy nightclub arson trial: Man captured on CCTV leaving fire escape before venue went up in smoke

Court gavel

Derry Crown Court, sitting in Coleraine, heard today how a man was allegedly seen on CCTV going up the fire escape of a local night club a matter of minutes before smoke was seen to come from the building.

Sebastian Prokop (24) of Crawford Square in Derry has gone on trial charged with the arson of the Envy Nightclub in the Strand Road in the city on January 9, 2020.

The fire extensively damaged the building which later had to be demolished.

Opening the case for the prosecution Russell Connell said the case was primarily "circumstantial".

He told the jury of five women and seven men that around that around 6.55pm on January 9, the owner of the club was told that smoke was coming from the building.

He said that following the fire the scene was examined and it was concluded that the fire was started deliberately.

The jury was told that there was CCTV at the rear of the club and CCTV in the vicinity of the Strand Road and they were told they would view this as well as footage from the apartment complex where Prokop lived at the time.

The prosecution said that a male could be seen coming along the Strand Road and then entering an alley way that ran along the side of the night club. The jury was told that the time on the CCTV when the male entered the alley way was put at 18.33.

The same male was then seen going up a fire escape that led to the second and third floor of the club.

Some three minutes later the male was seen leaving and going up the Strand Road.

The court heard that as the male proceeded along the Strand Road he left something on top of railings.

This was recovered by police and discovered to be a baseball cap which DNA evidence later linked to the defendant.
Mr Connell said the defendant was arrested on March 20 but did not answer any questions.

The case is expected to last several days.

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